The harvest is plentiful. The air is changing. The dark is setting in earlier each week. The heat is slower to come and quicker to leave. And with these cues, our calendars transform. Where camps, barbecues and pool parties filled our days, we now look ahead to a weekly program that will govern our next few months. There’s something refreshing about this. In the same way I was antsy for the frolicking of summer after the rigidity of the school year, I now welcome the predictable rhythm that will hold our days together.
But may these things that hold our days together not become the very things that keep us from one another.
Our schedules are powerful. The way they send us in different directions. The way they dictate our where and when. The way they shape our patterns and hold us captive to commitments.
But schedules are only the reflection of our investment.
Everything we do reveals what we value. Not what we say we value. What we actually value. What our money buys, where we spend our time, who we choose to be with, what we say yes to – these all point to things we either find meaningful or worth our resources.
And so I like to look at my calendar. For if it reflects a bit of my heart, then I want to examine it closely. I want to make sure I’m leaving room for the quiet, for the bedtime reading of Narnia. I want to make sure I’m leaving time in my days for those in need, for the spontaneous requests. I want my calendar to reflect that my children are active, but not busy. That they are learning skills and sports, but not at the cost of gathering as a family around our table most nights. I want to see that our family is engaged in the lives of others and contributing to events and opportunities, but not if it means fast food restaurants and lots of time in the car.
The hospitable schedule is one that helps you facilitate life, not busyness. It encourages involvement, not exhaustion. It should lead you toward people, not just tasks. It fought to foster discipline, not structured chaos.
And it should always be open for revision.
What margins are you sketching into your days that allow you time to process, write, pray, gather, rest, eat slow, eat well? How much space are you leaving for Jesus to go before you? Are you making room for intimacy and togetherness? Are you leaving enough time for deep sleep?
These are the only days of our lives. How shall we live them? Sold out to the busy life of the American dream? Or committed to intentionally living within our purpose as we engage the active world around us?
These are some questions I ask myself before saying yes to a long term commitment (by long term I mean something I will have to go to more than once!)
Is this good for the individual? And is it good for our family as a whole?
Does it encourage something relational?
What will it cost us? Money? A weekly dinner together? Time away from each other? And is the cost worth the benefit?
What value does it reflect?
Am I doing it because everyone else is? Or because it fulfills a need or will really will bless the individual or whole family?
I purchased these magnetic organizers at Target this week to place on my refrigerator (should it ever find it’s home back in my kitchen again!). This one is for meals. I plan to use the Notes column for meal time chores.
This one is for weekly commitments. I keep a calendar on my phone that I access frequently. I thought the children might appreciate a visible one so they know what to expect each week.